The Mike Francesa-Corey Ballentine controversy highlights exactly what’s wrong with the sports media world today.
“Francesa shames Giants for Corey Ballentine getting shot,” New York Post.
“Mike Francesa blames Giants draft pick for getting shot and bringing shame to the team,” Deadspin.
The Mike Francesa-Corey Ballentine controversy has brought out the worst in sports media.
Francesa, the longtime WFAN afternoon-drive kingpin, shared thoughts on the Ballentine incident that left the New York Giants late-round draft pick wounded and his college teammate, Dawane Simmons, dead on Saturday night.
“Listen, you can have an off-field incident with any draft pick any time,” Francesa said on his daily simulcasted show. “But when you finish your draft and stress how you went out of your way to take the right kind of guys, guys that you want on the team, guys that are going to be great character guys and you stress that as strongly as the Giants did, it looks pretty bad when one of them gets shot on a Saturday night. It does not look good. It’s just more of the same for the Giants, who just can’t get out of their own way, no matter what they say.”
Francesa, later on, continued to say that “It’s sad to see the Giants become a laughingstock around the league.”
Criticism is fair. Connecting the Giants declaration of only selecting “character guys” to the shooting incident in which no information was made available is a giant leap. Nobody knows what happened and why it went down on that particular night.
At the same time, nuance is required.
Francesa is correct in stating it looks bad. The optics are tough for a franchise who had just made such a declaration. To run with a headline “Francesa shames Giants” or “Francesa blames Giants draft pick for getting shot” is simply shoddy, disgusting work only tolerated in a world that has fans unable and/or unwilling to think for themselves.
At no point did he declare that Balletine’s actions brought shame to the team. At no point did he indict Ballentine in any fashion. He attempted to make a non-realistic connection that clearly revealed his current frustrations with the Giants organization, not Ballentine, himself.
The black and white, overly click-bated world of sports media has gone on for too long. Fans must be urged to dig deeper and think for him and herself.
Mike Francesa deserves the fair amount of criticism for his actions. What shouldn’t happen are outright lies that keep dumbing down sports fandom.